Share this entry

Share this page


Syllabification: grav·i·ta·tion
Pronunciation: /ˌɡravəˈtāSH(ə)n

Definition of gravitation in English:


1Movement, or a tendency to move, toward a center of attractive force, as in the falling of bodies to the earth.
Example sentences
  • He introduced this in 1817 in his study of a problem of Kepler of determining the motion of three bodies moving under mutual gravitation.
  • Aristotle's notion of the motion of bodies impeded understanding of gravitation for a long time.
  • Newton had deduced from his theory of gravitation that the Earth would be flattened at the poles.
1.1 Physics A force of attraction exerted by each particle of matter in the universe on every other particle: the law of universal gravitation Compare with gravity.
More example sentences
  • Based on his universal law of gravitation and laws of motion, he was able to explain the paths of the planets.
  • He attributed gravitation to the forces of mutual attraction between material objects.
  • Newton explicitly rejected the idea that gravitation, or any other force, be essential to matter.
2Movement toward or attraction to something: a tentative gravitation toward the prices that we saw before the announcement
More example sentences
  • According to many experts, however, the move is both a symptom of changing retail trends and a long expected gravitation towards the store's natural born market.
  • Her gravitation towards Italy and Italian culture functions as a kind replacement for the personal and cultural decimation she has witnessed as the daughter and niece of Holocaust victims.
  • It's almost as though we believe our society is caught up in some kind of unstoppable gravitation towards more consumption, more production, more alienation.


mid 17th century: from modern Latin gravitatio(n-), from the verb gravitare (see gravitate).



Example sentences
  • Such a computer program may be complicated, but basically it uses the simple gravitational theory of Isaac Newton.
  • In walking, kinetic energy is converted to gravitational potential energy and back again, as in a pendulum.
  • The bosons projected to mediate the gravitational force have not yet been observed.


Pronunciation: /-SHənl-ē/
Example sentences
  • They talked about neutron stars and gravitationally collapsed objects, which at the time were still conjectures.
  • Matter and radiation are gravitationally attractive, so in a maximally symmetric spacetime filled with matter, the gravitational force will inevitably cause any lumpiness in the matter to grow and condense.
  • For example, there doesn't seem to be enough visible matter in the form of stars and interstellar gas to hold most galaxies together gravitationally.

Definition of gravitation in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day vicarious
Pronunciation: vəˈkerēəs
experienced in the imagination through another person's feelings…